Okay, so you have a killer voice and want to sing professionally? Fabulous! Jaime Babbitt lives the life, and knows it’s a dream job. But she’s got a reality check for anyone who assumes a great voice is enough. So if you think being a professional singer means not having a “real” J-O-B, allow her to dispel some myths and dispense some tips:
By Jaime Babbitt
MOST PEOPLE THINK PROFESSIONAL SINGERS…
...Earn Mad Money Instantly
Okay, winners on reality shows might, but most of us have had far more humble beginnings. The important thing is: get creative in your job search. You might join a working party/wedding band, host a karaoke night, or sing/play in a hotel lobby. That’s okay if it’s part-time—you’re on the path.
Start envisioning the gig you want. Set your intentions. Write them down in a journal, reaffirming them daily. Meditate. Visualize yourself singing. Then visualize a check made out to you for $25,000 for the gig (run with me on this!) Then, feel—in your body—how amazing it feels to bank that $25,000…or that $1 million.
...Never Make Mistakes
Well, I’ve made musical mistakes in front of 20,000 people. Ouch. I’ve also made professional mistakes, like singing for shady clients who tried to pay me in illegal substances. What professional singers do is LEARN from their mistakes, understanding how to behave differently next time. We also keep our pity parties really short. They’re called “pity parties,” not “pity eternities,” right? Everybody goes home from a party eventually.
...Promote Themselves Only Via Social Media
True, virtual schmoozing is important, so tweet, FB post, email, blog, IM and iChat to your heart’s content. But hear this: there is no substitute for connecting with someone face to face. Continue your social media climbing, but make sure to get out and meet the people who can help a singer out: club managers, recording studio owners, record producers, even advertising professionals…who need great singers for their ad campaigns.
...Live Like Party-Animal Rock Stars
Please. We’re too busy to abuse drugs and alcohol. We eat well, exer-cise and do other stuff, like practice yoga. Why? Musicians can put their instruments back in their cases after gigs. Singers…not so much. This means we do not want any nicks, scratches or worn-out parts.
...Succeed Without Support Systems
Au contraire! Pro singers join choirs, and take voice, music and acting classes (good for voiceover skills). Also, singers have unions that can be of great help, like Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA, Actors’ Equity, Songwriters Guild and NSAI (for you original singer-songwriters) that protect singers’ rights, hold workshops, offer health insurance and credit union assistance.